So, you’re going on a trip or vacation and you’ve set up your out of office message to let anybody know who is sending you an email?
You want to be sure your clients and colleagues know how to get in touch with you or who to reach out to during your email sabbatical.
Good for you. You are so responsible… and risky and annoying.
If you are going to be out of reach then notify the key people you deal with and let others wait.
Why? Because what you say in the out of office message can be a security risk.
A typical out of office message includes information such as your current location, contact information, place of employment, job title, line of work, and the chain of command at your company. This could lead to social engineering attacks, identity theft, and even having your home robbed.
And on a lesser level, the confirmation that your email address is active can land you on lots of spam lists.
If you insist on having an out of office message, offer up something less detailed like you will be unavailable for a period of time. That could mean that you are going to be in a meeting onsite or locally.
Also, mention that you will be monitoring your email should there be an emergency, and otherwise you will get back to people as soon as you can. If you’d rather not do this, see if you can find one of your colleagues to keep an eye on it for the time you are out.
And that signature block? Drop it for the out of office message, so you don’t give vital contact information to strangers and potential scammers.
Even better, some out of office messages can be filtered to only hit a specific group, such as your co-workers.
Ideally, you won’t set up an out of office message at all, because of the reasons I shared, and because they are so annoying, especially for the people getting tons of them because they are attending the same conference as a bunch of people with them.